Understand Why You Need Distance
Falling out of love with someone who means the world to you can be incredibly difficult and painful. However, there are times when creating distance from a loved one is necessary for your own well-being. Here are some reasons you may need to pull away:
The Relationship Has Become Toxic or Abusive
If your partner is mistreating, manipulating, or verbally/physically abusing you, it’s important to remove yourself from the situation. Staying will only enable the abuse to continue and can be very damaging to your self-esteem and mental health. Put your safety and well-being first.
Your Partner is Struggling with Addiction or Mental Health Issues
Watching a loved one struggle with addiction or mental illness can be heartbreaking. However, their recovery is ultimately in their own hands. If their behavior is harming you or enabling their illness, taking a step back may be the best option.
You’ve Outgrown the Relationship
Over time, people naturally grow and change. If you’ve outgrown your partner or no longer share the same life goals and values, it may be time to let go. Trying to force a relationship that no longer fits will only cause pain for you both.
Unhealthy Attachment Styles
Some people develop unhealthy attachment styles due to childhood wounds or trauma. If you recognize your attachment to this person is anxious, avoidant, or codependent, distance may help you develop a healthier attachment style. Consider seeing a therapist.
Prepare Yourself Emotionally
Once you recognize that distance from this person is necessary, take time to prepare yourself emotionally. Here are some tips:
Reflect on Your Reasons
Make a list of all the reasons you need to create space. Refer to this when you start questioning your decision. Your reasons are valid – stay anchored in them.
Lean on Your Support System
Talk to close friends and family who can listen, comfort you, and remind you of your worth. Their support will be critical during this difficult transition.
Practice Radical Self-Care
Be extremely gentle with yourself and prioritize self-care. Get plenty of rest, eat nutritious meals, try yoga/meditation, and disengage from anything that doesn’t support your healing. You may need to drastically slow down for a while.
Seek Professional Help if Needed
If you are struggling with intense grief, depression, or trauma symptoms, seek help from a therapist. Having professional support can help the separation process feel less overwhelming.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
Give yourself permission to fully feel and process the loss. Cry, journal, create art – do whatever helps you express the swirling emotions inside. Releasing the pain is the only way to move through it.
Establish Physical and Emotional Boundaries
Once you are ready, start establishing clear boundaries that create the necessary space between you and this person.
Stop interacting with them on social media, messaging, and in person. Only communicate if absolutely necessary to avoid getting re-entangled.
Remove Visible Reminders
Put away tangible reminders like gifts, photos, and old love letters so they are not a constant source of pain. Consider storing them until you have more distance.
Avoid Places They Frequent
Stay away from places you used to go together like favorite restaurants, bars, and parks. If possible, avoid going to events where you may run into each other.
Set Firm Boundaries with Mutual Friends
Practice Saying “No”
If your former partner reaches out wanting to get together or talk, practice saying no firmly and kindly. You do not owe them anything – prioritize yourself.
Block Their Number if Needed
If you are tempted to reach out, or they won’t stop contacting you, blocking their number may help you resist the urge and maintain boundaries.
Fill Your Life with Things That Fulfill You
Rather than sitting alone thinking about the person you left behind, fill your extra time with people and activities that bring you joy, meaning, and comfort.
Lean Into Your Support System
Spend more time nourishing your close friendships and family bonds throughshared activities like game nights, hiking, or volunteering.
Pick Up Old Hobbies
Revisit hobbies you used to enjoy before the relationship like drawing, playing an instrument, knitting, or dancing. Immerse yourself in the things you love.
Learn Something New
Sign up for a class that enriches your life, like painting, martial arts, or learning a new language. Keep focusing your energy outward.
Travel Somewhere New
Plan a weekend getaway or longer solo trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit. New sights and experiences can help shift your perspective.
Give Back to Others
Volunteer with an organization that has meaning for you, like an animal rescue or food bank. Helping others has a way of healing us.
If you are really struggling, connect with a compassionate therapist. They can help you work through lingering grief, establish self-worth, and move forward.
Show Yourself Patience, Care, and Compassion
In the midst of heartbreak, remember to be extremely gentle with yourself. This is not a quick or linear process. Honor where you’re at, get support when needed, and don’t give up on your worth. With time and intention, you will find peace and joy again.